LOCAL GREEN PARTY MEMBERS AMBIVALENT ABOUT RALPH NADER PRESIDENTIAL RUN - Mitch Perry02/26/04
INTRO: Last Sunday morning, Long time Consumer Advocate and progressive icon
Ralph Nader angered much of the Democratic Party when he announced he would - for the 3rd straight election - run for the Presidency......
The anger came from many who believe that Nader's candidacy in 2000 COST Democrat Al Gore the election against George W. Bush.....In particular, attention has been focused on Florida, where the election was ultimately decided, and where Nader captured over 97,000 votes in a state that Bush won by just 537........
Speaking with Pacifica Radio's Amy Goodman on Monday, Nader enumerated some of the reasons he believes the Democrats are vulnerable to charges they are in the throes of Corporate Control as much as Republicans (roll tape#1 o.q."for expansion")
Nader is running as an independent this year - NOT as a member of the Green Party, where as a candidate he got less than 3% of the vote ...
But there are members of the Green Party in Florida who are part of a movement to draft Nader as the Green candidate.....
Mark Kamleiter is co-chair of the Green Party of Florida AND Organizer for Florida Greens for Nader...He says a preference Poll will be mailed to all registered Green Party members on March 1st to determine the interest -if any- in drafting Nader to run as a Green presidential candidate this year....But like almost all Greens, he completely dismisses charges that Nader was a 'spoiler' in 2000, and would be again this year
(roll tape#2 o.q. "Bush from the White House")
But Kamleiter says that does NOT mean stop being a 3rd Party.....But he says that the Greens can be effective critics of the President in a way that the Democratic Party cannot (roll tape#3 o.q."he voted for it")
Julia Ayres is the Co-Chair of the Green Party of Florida.....She says based on what she hears - opinion is strongly ambivalent about whether the Greens should run ANYBODY this year, and if so, whether Nader should be the candidate (roll tape#4 o.q. "campaign take off "should do")
But contrary to virtually everybody with a political opinion, Julia Ayres believes Nader will do BETTER than he did in 2000.....(roll tape#5 o.q."campaign take off")
Kurt Gratzol is a Green Party activist, who ran for State House District 54 as a Green Party member. He says that at a Green Party State Coordinating Council Meeting in Tallahasseee last weekend, he believes between 35 to 40% of delegates were thinking of a Draft Nader campaign...But the other 60% most definitely do NOT want...
And like other Green Party members , he refuses to acknowledge that Al Gore's loss should be laid at the feet of Ralph Nader (roll tape#6 o.q."voting rights restored")
The reaction amongst many members of the media - alternative and establishment - has been almost one of revulsion to Nader's announced candidacy. Wall Street Journal columnist Al Hunt repeated the thoughts of many today when he wrote that the greatest risk to Nader is not losing, but to "blemish his extraordinary achievements over 40 years"...while Medea Benjamin, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate from California in 2000 said she won't vote for Nader, because she wants George W. Bush out of the office.
At a News Conference on Monday, Nader said that his candidacy was an answer to the problems of the 2 party political system (roll tape#7 o.q."corporation")
OUTRO: Tomorrow Ralph Nader turns 70, and his website, votenader.org, his site is asking for supporters to raise $70,000 to be able to hire ballot access coordinators to put Nader on the ballot of all 50 states, a task he has conceded will be tremendously difficult as an independent candidate.